Bazoule, in Burkina Faso, is a sprawling lakeside village around 30 kilometers from the capital Ouagadougou, with a very unique tradition—for many generations residents of this village have been living in harmony with more than a hundred ferocious crocodiles that live in the village pond, the same pond where children swim and bath and the womenfolk fetch water from.
Bazoule’s crocodiles are a distant relative to the larger and more aggressive Nile crocodile. They are a species of their own—Crocodylus suchus—also known as the West African crocodile or desert crocodiles because they are mostly found in forested regions and open habitats. These crocodiles, or rather their ancestors, have adapted to the changing environment in northern Africa, from lush savannah and grasslands 10,000 years ago to the hot and arid Sahara that it is now.
Photo credit: www.globe-reporters.org
Unlike the Nile crocodile, that typically prefers large seasonal rivers, the West African crocodile generally prefers lagoons and wetlands in forested regions. Some of these wetlands, called a guelta, forms only during rains or when underground springs collect in a depression. When the water evaporates, the crocodiles pass the summer in a kind of torpor. They don’t eat and they keep movement down to a minimum.
West African crocodiles are also less aggressive than the Nile crocodile and usually does not attack humans. Like Bazoule, many communities throughout West Africa have lived in close proximity to West African crocodiles and instead of fearing them, these people revere them and protect them from harm. Bazoule’s people believe that the crocodiles came from the sky along with the rains, and if the crocodiles disappear the water will disappear too.
Sacred crocodiles are also found in the town of Sabou in central western Burkina Faso. Just over the border from Burkina Faso in Ghana, there is a town called Paga, that hosts their own collection of crocodiles that live side by side with humans. Both at Bazoule and at Paga, there are guides who will eagerly lure the crocodiles out of water with live chicken as bait, so that tourists can pat them and take pictures with them.
Photo credit: www.globe-reporters.org
Source….Kaushik in http://www.amusingplanet.com
Approximately 150 miles southwest of Atlanta, in the US state of Georgia, is a network of gorges and massive gullies lovingly called Georgia’s “Little Grand Canyon.” It is considered to be one of Georgia’s “Seven Natural Wonders”, except it isn’t at all natural. These impressive canyons were created not by the action of a river over millions of years but by rainwater runoff from farm fields in less than a century.
Photo credit: John A. Kelley/USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
Providence Canyon began forming in the early 1800s because of poor farming practices that prevailed across the nation and especially in the south. In those early days of agriculture, land was cheap, unlimited and seemingly expendable giving way to a combination of plantations, small farms, and eventually a sharecropper system that not only degraded the land but also kept farmers in debt and uneducated. Native forest cover were cleared so the land could be farmed, and no measures were taken to avoid soil erosion leading to massive loss of topsoil. Small gullies began to form and rapidly grew deeper and more extensive, until they were three to five feet deep by the 1850s. These small channels began to further concentrate runoff increasing the rate of erosion. Today, some of the gullies at Providence Canyon are 150 feet deep.
Despite its recent formation, Providence Canyon is a treasure trove for geologists and visitors alike. Erosion has exposed the geologic record of several million years within its walls, and minerals have stained the sediments, creating a wide range of colors.
Photo credit: Alexander Lerch/Flickr
Providence Canyon lies in a region that was formed by deposition of marine sediments between 59 and 74 million years ago. The soil in the top part of the canyon wall was deposited about 60-65 million years ago, just after the age of the dinosaurs. Its fairly coarse sand is a reddish color caused by the presence of iron oxide. Underneath this formation lies what is known as the Providence Sand, which makes up most of the canyon walls. It’s one hundred and nineteen feet thick and was deposited about 70 million years ago. The upper part of this layer is very fine sand mixed with a white clay. The middle layer is coarse and more colorful, with beds of yellow (limonite) and purple (manganese) deposits. The lowest and oldest layer is a black and yellow mica-rich clay. The bottom of the canyon floor was deposited about 70-74 million years ago, and is orange in color but is poorly exposed and overgrown by vegetation.
Providence Canyon continues to erode, however, the floor of the canyon is more resistant and growth of pine trees, buses and other vegetation has helped stabilize the soil.
Source…..Kaushik in http://www.amusingplanet.com